Resident Evil HD Remaster Review (XONE)

Resident Evil XONE. Capcom

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The Resident Evil REmake REmaster HD Super Awesome Edition - my title, you can borrow it if you want - arrives on Xbox One in fantastic shape.  This is easily the best version yet of one of the best horror games ever and absolutely worth a look for just about anyone who considers themselves a survival horror fan.  It looks incredible and plays fantastically well despite the age of the original source material.

  Resident Evil on Xbox One is a must play.

Game Details

  • Publisher:  Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • ESRB Rating: “M" for Mature
  • Genre: Action
  • Pros:  Great visuals; difficulty options; control options; still as scary as ever; the mansion is simply amazing; solid gameplay
  • Cons:  Convoluted puzzles; disorienting camera angle switches

The Basics of Resident Evil

Considering that Resident Evil first released in 1996 and the remake, which the XONE version is based on, released in 2002, I'm not going to go into too many details about the game itself.  The basics are that you are a member of a special police squad investigating a series of mysterious murders.  You end up in a huge creepy mansion crawling with zombies and other monsters, and have to fully explore to find keys and solve puzzles to proceed and find the root of the evil the mansion is hiding. 

The intertwining hallways and rooms can be pretty confusing to navigate at first, and the puzzles are pretty darn obtuse to put it mildly.

  But Resident Evil was made at a time when gamers didn't need their hands held at all times, and there is definitely an appeal to a game like this that is actually difficult and you really have to think in order to proceed.  With that said, having a guide handy if this is your first time playing probably isn't a bad idea.

  Combat is actually pretty simple as you just point and shoot until stuff dies, but ammo is pretty scarce. 

Arguably the bigger enemy in the original Resident Evil isn't the monsters, but the limited inventory space you have that requires you to constantly backtrack to save rooms to deposit items in special boxes.  You always have to consider what puzzle is next and what you need to do next, so not picking up everything you see is actually the smartest tactic.  Only pick up what you need at the time, as you'll see that herb or item sitting in that same place again (and again, and again, and again, and again ...) as you wind through the mansion and go through the same rooms.  Backtracking isn't a crime here, though, as the game changes as you play, so even rooms you thought were safe before might not be the next time. 

New Additions in HD Remaster

The 2002 GameCube remake changed around the layout of the mansion a bit from the PSX original, and added new features and other things, and that is the version this Xbox One release is based on.  This new version adds a few new tricks of it's own as well, however.  Most notably are a new easy difficulty mode that gives you loads more healing items, and a new control option that lets you use normal movement instead of the classic "tank" controls.

  Personally, I'm grateful for these changes.  I'm not actually a huge fan of the "survival" part of survival horror, so being able to actually play through the game to see the story and experience everything on an easier setting is a welcome addition.  You can still play with the oldschool tougher difficulties if you want, of course.  I also like the new controls where your character moves in the direction you point the stick.  The "tank" controls of the older RE games made you slowly turn your character in a direction before they could walk that way.  I prefer the new controls.  Again, of course, you can use the old controls if you want. 

Another change in this release is that you can choose between a widescreen aspect ratio and the 4:3 ratio of the original.  The widescreen setting crops the top and bottom of the screen and stretches the image to fit the sides, which sounds odd, but it actually doesn't look awful.  We played in widescreen and thought it was fine.


Seeing as how this is an HD remaster of a 13-year old remake appearing for the first time on Xbox One, the visuals can really make or break whether it is worth a look at all.  Incredibly, the graphics hold up really well.  It looks amazing, actually.  I'm not sure of what all was redone and what was upscaled and whatnot, but 95% of it looks great on XONE.  There are still moments here and there where you'll notice a texture that doesn't look so good or a character model looks a little off, but for the most part it is really impressive.  The lighting in particular is absolutely stunning looking.  The game is still the core oldschool RE formula of pre-rendered backgrounds (that look great) and fixed camera angles (that can cause some confusion moving with the new 3D control method), but it looks very good.  Honestly, it makes me miss pre-rendered backgrounds in games and I wish we saw more of them in games today. 

Bottom Line

I have played Resident Evil 2-6 (check out my Resident Evil 5, and RE Operation Raccoon City reviews) and a few of the side games pretty extensively, but this was my first time really digging into the original Resident Evil.  I have to say I love just about everything about it.  I will admit that since I don't have a deep rooted nostalgia for the original, I'm probably more tolerant (heck, appreciative is probably a better word) of newfangled things like the new controls and difficulty settings than an oldschool fan might be, but you can still play the game the pure oldschool way if you want.  Having these options is nice.  My point, though, is that being able to experience this great game at all on the Xbox One, and with it looking as incredible as it does, is an absolute treat.  Being able to download it for just $20 is a steal.  Resident Evil is one of the all time great classic videogames, and the Xbox One version maintains that legacy perfectly.  Buy it.    

REMake HD isn't the only Resident Evil on Xbox One.  Check out our RE Revelations 2 review.

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